The International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) Society was created to advocate globally for a healthy start to life, by supporting initiatives, programs and policies that promote education and research into the early life origins of health and disease.
- To promote a coordinated global research strategy for the scientific and social exploration of the relationship between early human development and health and disease risk later in life
- To sponsor regular meetings for the discussion of research findings, potential interventions, and opportunities for education and advocacy across the globe
The formation of our Society is based on early foundational research by DOHaD pioneers like Professor David Barker, who recognised that failure to thrive in the womb increased the risk of adult diseases. Barker and colleagues first presented their studies in the 1980s, showing a relationship between weight at birth and the prevalence of heart disease in the same individuals 50-60 years later. This raised the possibility that environmental influences acting during the earliest stages of development might affect disease susceptibility later in life.
Since these inaugural studies, researchers have gathered and collaborated to understand the relationship between early life experiences and adult health. The International Council on the Fetal Origins of Adult Disease was formed in 1999, followed by our first World Congress in Mumbai India in 2001. Shortly thereafter, we emerged as the Society for the Fetal Origins of Adult Disease.
Art by Brad Blaze, 2019 World Congress
Over time, evidence demonstrated that the fetal period is not the only stage where environmental adversity can lead to persistent lifelong effects. We now know that our biology can interact with our environment to influence health across our lives at the level of the sperm and egg, the embryo, and the young child. Accordingly, our name was expanded to the Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD).
In 2020, The International DOHaD Society became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO, Registration Number 1190519) with the United Kingdom’s Charity Commission. Today, our Society’s Members are researchers, educators, communicators and health care professionals from a number of different scientific and health promotion fields, who support our collaborative and integrative approach to research and the translation of this knowledge to policy makers, NGOs and public health institutes worldwide.